The Basics of French Healthcare: Q&A


Expert FAQs

The Basics of French Healthcare: Q&A
By Cigna

France has an excellent healthcare system. However, not all costs are covered by the state. Taking out private health insurance is great for peace of mind writes Anastasia Karasimirova.

What is a Carte Vitale?

What is the carte vitale, how do I use it and what is the process for obtaining one?

This card allows you access to the French healthcare system and also to be reimbursed for things like doctor or specialist appointments, prescriptions at the pharmacy, or hospital visits. Even so, you probably have to pay the cost upfront. Additional private insurance can also be purchased to avoid out of pocket expenses. Anyone who has been legally resident in France for three months or more is eligible for a carte vitale. However, you’ll need to meet certain criteria to qualify for state-provided healthcare, and depending on your employment status, the enrolment process could take a while. Since health insurance is mandatory to live in France, most expats choose to take out private health insurance before they go so they are covered from the moment they arrive.

How can we find a GP in France?

We are a retired couple about to move to a small town in Vendée. How do we find a GP – do we need to choose one or is one allocated to us automatically?

France’s healthcare system consistently ranks among the best in the world. You can choose any doctor to treat you under the French state healthcare system, but if you live in a rural area, you may have difficulties finding one without travelling some distance as there is a severe shortage of GPs in some parts of France. In order to take advantage of the system, a private health insurance could help you avoid this inconvenience.

The majority of people living in France use private health insurance to supplement state-provided care. At Cigna, we can offer a global network of 1.65 million hospitals and healthcare professionals plus digital tools, like the Cigna Wellbeing AppTM, to help you manage your health and well-being, at any time and from anywhere.

Is there free dental care in France?

Are all the basic dental treatments free in France?

A number of basic treatments are covered by the state in France. Despite this, it is important to note that the government will only reimburse a portion of the cost and that it works in the same way as going to a GP – you’ll be required to pay in advance, then you’ll receive a reimbursement. With Cigna, you have the flexibility to create a health insurance plan that suits your unique needs. In addition to your core International Medical Insurance plan, you can choose to include an international vision & dental module to make sure you’re fully covered and have access to a wider range of services, and a predictable monthly bill to help minimise the worry of unexpected expenses.


Why Cigna?

Cigna Global provide health insurance to expats and globally mobile individuals all over the world.

Their coverage extends to more than 200 countries and territories around the world, with 1.65M health professionals and 24/7 multilingual customer service centres.

All of Cigna Global’s plans can be tailored to suit the needs of you and your family, always finding the right healthcare solution, whatever the situation and wherever you are in the world.

Lead photo credit : Shutterstock

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